AUST – Emergency Plan advises an Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) has a responsibility under AS 3745-2010 ‘Planning for emergencies in facilities’, to prepare and maintain an Emergency Plan for their facility. The Standard expects that the plan will reflect that the EPC has considered will include Emergency prevention, Emergency preparedness and Emergency mitigation.
The best way to deal with an emergency, under AS 3745, is to prevent them (emergency prevention) from occurring in the first place, and the chances of an emergency occurring can be greatly reduced. For example, the risk of a fire emergency can be reduced by removing ignition sources and reducing fuel loads in a building. In practical terms, this can mean using properly tagged electrical appliances, ensuring power points, leads and supplies are not overloaded, removing rubbish and archiving material properly. In industrial areas, proper control and bunding of flammable liquids and safe work practices play a part in emergency prevention.
When safety measures have been installed, diligent servicing to the required maintenance regime is part of emergency prevention. This is such a critical issue that the Emergency Planning Committee, under AS 3745-2010 may decide to implement the auditing of safety system servicing and regular inspection of exit routes to ensure they remain clear of obstruction. It is mandatory in most States regulations to maintain essential safety measures / essential services to ensure emergency prevention.
Of course an emergency like earthquakes, cannot be prevented, but their impact and the impact of other emergencies can be reduced through adequate preparation. Putting an Emergency Planning Committee in place is the beginning of emergency preparedness. The duties of the Emergency Planning Committee, as required by AS 3745-2010 can further preparedness by:
- Identifying a potential emergency – even beyond the standard ‘fire’ and’ bomb threat’. Our modern society has made some risks, like white powder letters and chemical/ biological/ radiological incidents, more likely. Floods and tsunamis should not be ignored by facilities where there is potential for these incidents.
- Appointing an Emergency Control Organisation (ECO).
- Developing and maintaining emergency procedures
- Training the ECO and occupants
- Allocating resources or temporarily vacating where notice of an impending emergency is received e.g. a flood, cyclone or bushfire.
Emergency mitigation consists of measures taken to decrease the likelihood of emergencies occurring and the associated impacts on people, the facility and the environment. It can take many forms.
Emergency mitigation studies suggest that placed bombs can be reduced with greater security and access control, and the disruption from bomb threats in secured properties is also subsequently reduced. Even subtle measures can be effective. For example, think of a vacant, unsupervised foyer of a multi-storey building where bomb placement could occur unobserved. Introducing a coffee stand, where the continual presence of staff and customers creates an occupied environment, reduces the opportunity for a bomb to be placed.
Overall, AS 3745-2010 provides best practice guidelines to deal with an emergency. By following the guidelines, an effective emergency plan can be created with emergency prevention in mind.
Work Health Safety Legislation
Refer to our Work Health Safety Legislation Table for further statutory information on safe occupation of a building.